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German and Austrian Rieslings to try


★ ★ ★Exceptional  ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good

Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be available at additional stores. Check to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Dave McIntyre is the wine columnist for The Washington Post. He also blogs at View Archive

Here are German and Austrian Rieslings available in the Washington area market, including dry wines and some with a touch of sweetness. Don’t be shy about trying both.

— D.M.

Dr. Loosen Red Slate Dry Riesling 2012

★ ★ ★

Mosel, Germany, $17

Ernst Loosen is Dr. Riesling. He has his finger on the pulse of this grape, whether it’s grown in the Mosel, where his home winery is located; in other areas of Germany; and even in Washington state, where he collaborates with Chateau Ste. Michelle winery on the popular Eroica Riesling. Red Slate refers to the type of soil in the vineyard, and this dry, mineral wine seems to summon the essence of that vineyard into the glass, where it can be released with a gentle swirl. It’s compelling enough to drink by itself, or try it with light appetizers. For spicier foods, I would recommend a fruitier, sweeter Riesling. Alcohol by volume: 12.5 percent.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Rodman’s; on the list at Rasika (Penn Quarter, West End). Available in Maryland at Georgetown Square Wine & Beer in Bethesda, Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at Dominion Wine and Beer, German Gourmet and Merrifield Wine & Beer in Falls Church. 

Huber Riesling Terrassen 2012/2013

★ ★ 1 / 2

Traisental, Austria, $18

Here’s an excellent example of what Austria, better known for its grüner veltliner, can do with Riesling. It is intense and impeccably focused. The best Austrian white wines seem to drill down to the Earth’s core; this one might not reach that far, but it digs deep. ABV: 12 percent.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Arrowine & Spirits, Eye Street Cellars, P&C Market, Rodman’s. Available in Maryland at Wine Source in Baltimore. Available in Virginia at German Gourmet in Falls Church, Swirl & Sip in Fairfax.

J & P Matheus Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett 2012

★ ★ 1 / 2

Mosel, Germany, $22

This wine exemplifies Riesling’s conundrum: It has perceptible sweetness, but the sugar is balanced by acidity, which renders the wine fruity and refreshing. Try it with moderately spicy foods, because the heat of the peppers will make the wine taste drier. ABV: 9 percent.

Kysela: Available in the District at Magruder’s. Available in Maryland at Antietam Spirits in Boonsboro, C&R Liquors in Hagerstown. Available in Virginia at Airlie Center in Warrenton, Aldie Peddler, Norm’s Beer & Wine and Vienna Vintner in Vienna, Throx Country Store in Winchester, Vino Volo in Tysons Corner, Wegmans (Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Gainesville, Sterling, Woodbridge), Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Fairfax, Vienna).

Robert Weil Riesling Tradition 2012

★ ★

Rheingau, Germany, $25

Robert Weil also makes an excellent Trocken, offering us an ideal opportunity to compare dry and off-dry styles of Riesling from the same producer. The Tradition is only modestly sweet (or fruity, as German winemakers describe it) and, in my opinion, is better balanced to pair with food, especially anything with spicy heat, such as Indian or Southeast Asian cuisine. ABV: 10 percent.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Arrowine & Spirits, P&C Market; on the list at Le Diplomate. Available in Maryland at Bin 201 Wine Sellers in Annapolis, Bin 604 Wine Sellers in Baltimore; on the list at Volt in Frederick. Available in Virginia at Arrowine & Cheese in Arlington, Unwined (Belleview).

Villa Wolf Wachenheimer Riesling Dry 2012

★ ★

Pfalz, Germany, $14

This is another wine produced by Loosen. Its bracing, mineral acidity takes command, but the ripe tree fruit flavors back it up nicely. Like many German wines trying to explain themselves to the U.S. market, this wine is labeled “Dry” on the front and “Trocken” — the German word for dry — on the back. ABV: 13 percent.

Country Vintner: Available in the District at Rodman’s, Whole Foods Market (P Street). Available in Maryland at in Gaithersburg, Old Town Market in Kensington; on the list at Schmankerl Stube in Hagerstown. Available in Virginia at Cheesetique, Crystal City Wine Shop (both locations), German Gourmet in Falls Church.

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